It was 16 years ago tomorrow, 16th, when I was wandering idly through Harrogate Conference Centre at Lib Dem Conference, that I saw a notice on one of the screens that I should contact reception. It turns out that my mum had been trying to contact me to tell me that my sister had had her baby, Laura, 6 weeks early, 2 days previously. As soon as Conference was over, I high tailed it up north to see this new baby. I feel in love immediately. She was in an incubator at the time, having phototherapy for jaundice, but I don't think I had ever seen anything quite so beautiful. She had a full head of hair and a gorgeous wee face. My sister, only 17 herself, was the most perfect caring, responsive, wonderful mother. I was so much in awe of how in control she was and how focused she was on the needs of her baby.
Today, that tiny wee tot is an extraordinarily beautiful, ballsy, quirky, funny, clever and utterly fabulous young woman. I am incredibly proud of her. She goes off to rock festivals and sleeps in a tent for entire weekends, which I never had the courage to do at her age, even if I would have been allowed to. She is trustworthy, loyal and honourable and I think she's fantastic.
She's hoping to come down to Edinburgh Uni in a couple of years so I expect our washing machine, home and bank balance will be her's whenever she needs it:-)